The most important position on the team is definitely a bigger question mark then when the Bears went to Bourbonnais.
Rex Grossman suffered a potentially season ending injury in the second game. Chad Hutchinson steps into the starting role with more experience than Grossman, but less talent and lower expectations. Kyle Orton assumes the backup role. While he could be a starter down the road, he's not ready for the job at this juncture in his career.
Thomas Jones will be the starter heading into the season. If Cedric Benson had been in training camp on time there would have been a competition for the top spot. Now Jones has a lock on the job and it will be difficult for Benson to overcome him this year. Benson will still get his share of carries, but not nearly what he would have received if he stepped onto the field in Bourbonnais.
The picture on who starts opposite Muhsin Muhammad is becoming clearer. While the coaching staff won't be say it, Bernard Berrian looks to be the speed threat the Bears need on the field. Justin Gage has played well in practice and will still be involved because of limitations to Berrian's game because of his lack of strength.
Projected starter Desmond Clark returned for the final week of training camp from an ankle injury. Although he's still the top tight end on the depth chart, the lack of progress by the rest of the group is disappointing.
The first string has not allowed a sack in the first two preseason games. The veteran group is coming together quicker than expected and should be able to keep the running game and Hutchinson going.
Pressuring the quarterback from the front four is what makes a defense special. The Bears did that on occasion last season and have taken their level of play up a notch so far. Adewale Ogunleye has three sacks in about three quarters of work. The starters have been around the quarterback on a consistent basis, which has the coaching staff excited.
Everyone knows about Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, but questioned if Hunter Hillenmeyer was ready to assume a starting role. He's played solidly in the preseason and has shown up to work in practice. The depth at the position is still a concern. Marcus Reese had a shoulder injury early in camp and has not stood out since returning. Like Reese, Joe Odom has starting experience and that will give both of them an edge when it comes to making final decisions on who stays and who goes.
Without Jerry Azumah the Bears thin at the position. On the bright side the injury has given time to younger cornerbacks to develop. Nathan Vasher worked with the first team for the majority of training camp. Jerrell Pippens and Rashied Davis are getting a chance to play on a regular basis, which has shown the strength and weaknesses in their game. If Azumah can return healthy, then the Bears have three strong cornerbacks and will be forced to go with inexperience at the fourth spot on the depth chart.
The Bears have tinkered with this position more than any other in training camp. Players have been consistently shuffled in and out of the lineup in order to get a look at different combinations. It's more a matter of having a lot of talent and trying to evaluate it as opposed to being unhappy with the starting tandem of Mike Brown and Mike Green.
The punt return job has been an open competition. It's Bernard Berrian's job to lose, but if he secures a starting job at wide receiver it's unlikely the Bears will use him in a dual role. GM Jerry Angelo has gone outside of the organization twice in the last week in an attempt to find a punt returner.
Doug Brien has attempted just a 30-yard field goal through two games. In an open aired stadium he struggled to get his kickoffs to the 15-yard line, which for a team expecting to play a field position game is a worry. Brad Maynard has missed time with a calf strain, but he would have been back sooner if the injury occurred in the regular season. The Bears have taken the cautious approach with the regular season still more than three weeks away.